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Indiana Black Expo and Indianapolis Recorder Media Group escalate partnership to advance community building in 2021

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Two of the most formidable African-American cornerstones in the nation — The Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Indiana Black Expo, Inc. — are teaming to drive a strategic coalition of key stakeholders for social and economic change.

Heightened focus on justice and equity issues reached unprecedented levels of global consciousness in 2020 but, in fact, has been woven into the fabric of The Recorder and IBE since their inception — 125 and 50 years ago, respectively.

Commitment to uplift and sustain first-class citizenship and quality of life for people of color constitutes the foundation on which one of the nation’s oldest Black newspapers and one of the most successful Black organizations were founded.

IBE President & CEO Tanya Mckinzie said the two entities collaborated during this pandemic year to provide tools and resources to help 1,200 Indiana small businesses stay afloat during the most challenging economic climate in decades.

Pointing to the effective collaboration in 2020, Mckinzie noted, “Unimaginable adversity intensified the need to help put the Black economic sector in the best possible position to prepare for and deal with unforeseen situations.

“IBE and the Indianapolis Recorder enjoy a rich tradition of teaming together for a common cause. Our goal moving forward is to combine efforts of like-minded organizations in becoming more strategic in such planning and implementations.” 

Indiana Recorder Media Group President & CEO Robert Shegog says elevation of the longstanding partnership with IBE is both critical and timely. Evolving challenges require fresh, effective and sustainable community empowerment strategies. 

“Discrimination and racism affect all parts of Black lives, personally and collectively, including where people live, education, types of jobs, access to health care, insurance coverage, and a host of other factors,” Shegog remarks.

“Public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic magnify this impact and highlight disproportionately negative effects on Black communities. The Indianapolis’ Black community has been resilient and persevered through a tough 2020.”

Shegog added, “It is imperative that local Black Legacy Organizations like Indianapolis Recorder and IBE set the tone for our community on the importance of collaboration and unity as we embark on the journey ahead to develop the infrastructure and systems needed to ensure that the Black Community in Indianapolis never goes through another year like 2020.”

Meaningful innovations evolved in the midst of COVID. While businesses lamented disappointing profits in the throes of the pandemic, IBE launched the IBX Series designed to support millennial-led enterprises in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area.

The culminating IBX Power Pitch Competition teamed IBE with The Recorder, and InnoPower to enable 15 entrepreneurs to vie for $9,000 in cash prizes. The Indianapolis Recorder Facebook live-streamed the contest.

This is an example of creative thinking needed for evolving challenges, say Mckinzie and Shegog who hope their organizations will facilitate community dialogue to strengthen foundations, expand opportunity and develop sustainable strategies for continuous growth.

Both are convinced that a broad base of focused leadership in Indianapolis will ensure impactful and pervasive solutions across the community.

Mckinzie concluded, “In 2021, IBE and the Recorder Media Group will create broader platforms for the collaboration of non-profit groups, corporations, media, faith-based entities, and educators as well as civic and social groups, to work toward the elimination of barriers to optimum learning, work, health, safety, and economics.”

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